Category Archives: Uncategorized

Team working together

Employee Behavior Analytics

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Can we use simple design changes in a workplace to improve employee teamwork, communication, and performance? We have talked here several times about some interesting innovations such as aligning the chairs, creativity spaces, and so on.

While it is widely acknowledged that effective communication and knowledge transfer are crucial to an organization’s success, these behaviors are very difficult to measure. Surveys and human observers provide biased, limited views into communication behaviors, which is of little practical usefulness for organizations.

Seating Area at the Edge offices

The Most Intelligent Building in the World

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We have covered the idea of a smart workplace a few times on EID (for example here and here, but it seems there is always a new innovation around the corner that is far enough advanced to be worth revisiting the topic. The next example in this series is The Edge, Deloitte’s Amsterdam headquarters.

It knows where you live. It knows what car you drive. It knows who you’re meeting with today and how much sugar you take in your coffee. (At least it will, after the next software update.) This is the Edge, and it’s quite possibly the smartest office space ever constructed.

children playing computer game

Physical Contact and Video Gaming

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One of the first things I did when I got to the HFES conference this year was to scan the program looking for any research on games, gamification, or game-based training.

And I found a really good one. This study by Rachel Cunningham and her colleagues at Embry-Riddle compared two very similar tablet-based games. Both games requires players to collaborate on the same tablet surface. So it was not remote collaboration, it was real-time co-located collaboration.

pac man

Game Training to Reduce Bias

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There has been a long history of movements in the business, psychology, and human factors communities to help people overcome the natural tendencies in decision making that often lead us astray. You know – what we often refer to as biases but that evolved to help us make fast, frugal decisions in the muddy context we call the real world.

If you believe this article in Harvard Business Review, a team of researchers led by Carey Morewedge at Boston University may have discovered a viable approach. They used a serious game to train participants in intelligence analysis.

many snow white dolls

The Uncanny Valley in User Experience

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We have discussed the phenomenon of the uncanny valley here before. It is the phenomenon in which a robot or animation looks enough like a human to trigger our neural human recognition system but unhuman enough to trigger our neural mismatch/somethings wrong system (I can go into the neuroanatomy if someone asks in the comments).

Recent experiments suggest that I’m not alone in my discomfort. Colin Strong, a marketing consultant in the UK, storyboared several high tech customization scenarios, ranging from the simple (targeted direct mail) to the sophisticated, like health insurance companies crawling info on your food purchase habits to adjust your premiums. When he showed the scenarios to subjects, he found that the more personalized the services got, the more people liked them – until they got too personalized.

cartoon garage

Visibility

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This might be the app that convinces the average person to adopt some smart home features. Not just for garage doors, but the simple idea of visibility.

If you have a garage, you’ve likely experienced a nagging bout of door doubt at some point. It’s that sinking feeling you get after leaving home, and it starts when you’re about two blocks away: “Did I actually close the garage?” But you’re probably running late and the kids are arguing in the backseat, so it’s no wonder you can’t recall. Until a year ago, you had two choices: Double back and check, wasting precious minutes, or just take the chance that thieves won’t view a wide-open garage as an invitation to help themselves to its contents. Today, however, there’s a third, smarter way to go.

Hand completing a multiple choice exam.

Multiple Choice Endowment Effect

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As soon as I saw this, I had to share. Not only is it a great example of the endowment effect, it has some important advice for all of our student readers out there.

Often, you’ll hear people say that you should “trust your instincts” when making decisions. But are first instincts always the best?

Psychological research has shown many times that no, they are often no better – any in many cases worse – than a revision or change. Despite enormous popular belief that first instincts are special, dozens of experiments have found that they are not.

man with funny face

Authenticity

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Authenticity is a powerful buzzword in management and marketing these days. It is not new, but it seems to be taking on a new level of importance. Companies are striving to make their brands deliver a more authentic experience. Instead of getting a response from customer service, you get a response from Sally and if you click on her link you can watch a video of her taking her kids to school. So that you can get to know her better.

If the ancient Greek aphorism gnóthi sautón—“know thyself”*—is any indication, people have been obsessed with being themselves for a very long time. And no wonder: acting like yourself generally goes hand in hand with a sense of well-being—studies have found that people who believe they’re behaving authentically are less distressed and have higher self-esteem [1].

retro kitchen

IKEA’s Kitchen of the Future

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Here is another great piece on innovation in one of the most important rooms in the house – the kitchen. And as with many of the other innovations in this area that we have shared here on EID it comes from Northern Europe. In this case from a partnership between IKEA, Lund University, and Eindhoven University – with an assist from that fantastic source of design thinking – IDEO.

The design students spent months researching people’s attitudes about cooking and eating and how the world of food might change over the next decade. After the students came up with more than 20 visions for future kitchens—from a shared community kitchen for city neighborhoods to an interactive chef’s hat that teaches kids to cook through games—Ideo built a working prototype.

bicycle

Park & Pedal

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The idea behind this design is quite clever. There are some people who are hardcore cyclists and will ride no matter what. There are even more people who will not bike no matter what. But there are millions of people in the middle who are among the “convertibles”. They are willing to consider it, at least some of the time. But it depends on the weather, the traffic, the convenience, and other factors. It is a simple case of motivational psychology. Perceived coherence of the context, perceived value of the benefits, perceived social status and norms, and so on.

Park & Pedal aims to ease traffic congestion into the city each morning as commuters clamber to make it to their jobs on time.It’s also meant to inspire more people to get out and exercise.